1956 RCA CTC5 Wingate 21" Color Restoration

Back in 2008 this RCA CTC5 Wingate Deluxe set was listed on Craigslist in California.  This set was the “Top Of The Line” RCA color set in 1956 and is complete with the optional UHF tuner.  And it was quite expensive.  This set retailed for $899 in 1956.  In today’s money that would be $7352.  Here is a photo of a service tag that I found inside the set.  It appears that the last name of the original owner was Bartlett, and they lived at 3628 N. VanNess in Fresno California.  I guess the Bartlett’s were doing pretty well back in 1956.

I contacted the seller and purchased the set.  I found a shipper on U-ship to bring the set to Milwaukee.  The seller told me that he was watching the set the year before and that the set was in working order.  But when the set arrived I was disappointed to find that that very difficult to obtain 21AXP22 color picture tube had lost vacuum and was no good. So the first task was to locate a new picture tube for the Wingate.  In 2009 I located a replacement picture tube and started the restoration of the set. 

The cabinet on this Wingate is done in Walnut veneers and solids and is quite rare.  The finish was uneven and some areas, such as the top and one of the sides, were sun faded, and the varnish was dry and lifting.  Being as this was such a rare and valuable piece, and was in the very rare Walnut finish, I decided to have the cabinet professionally stripped and restored.  I located an old world cabinet refinisher and took the cabinet to him.  Two months later it was refinished and looked good as the day it left the factory again.

Electronic restoration was simple.  All the major components were functional.  The chassis restoration consisted of replacing all the old capacitors, and re-stuffing the electrolytic cans. After the chassis restoration was completed, I powered the set up and after some basic initial adjustments, I had a raster and sound.  At that point I started to re-install all of the components back into the refinished cabinet.  When everything was re-installed I spent a couple hours doing purity and convergence adjustments.  One of the features I like about this set is that all the purity and convergence adjustments are right up front behind the pencil box control door.  Removing two screws gives you access to all the convergence, screen and background controls, so you can sit in front of the set and do your convergence adjustments.  All sets should have been designed this way.  It makes life much easier for the service man.

After I was satisfied with the convergence, I connected a DVD player and played The Wizard of Oz.  Here are some screen shots from Oz.  I am afraid the photos don’t do the set justice.  The actual picture on the screen is much crisper.  Perhaps one of these days I will figure out how to take better screen shots, but for now this is the best I can offer.

"Baseball, Hot dogs, Apple pie, and RCA" God I love this country! So glad I grew up as a youngster in this era.